Coastal Georgia Adopt A Wetland Program A hands-on education experience that promotes wetland conservation through volunteer monitoring
Program Goals • Educate the public on the importance of wetlands • Increase public awareness of water quality issues, especially non-point source pollution • Train citizens to monitor and protect local wetlands • Collect baseline wetland health data
Wetlands in Georgia • Valuable Resources • Filter Pollutants • Flood Protection • Nursery ground for larval fish • Provide habitat for macroinvertebrates and shellfish species • Support diverse recreational activities
Wetland Regulations Protected under the Coastal Marshland Protection Act and the Shoreline Protection Act through the GA DNR • Requires permits for structures, dredging, filling • Establishes a protection committee to evaluate development projects affecting marshland • Prohibits motorized vehicles on beach without permit • Protects dunes, beaches, sandbars, and shoals
State of Georgia’s Wetlands • Coastal development • increasing population growth • wetland loss (7000 acres pa in GA) • “dead marsh” phenomenon • increased boat traffic • large scale removal of water from coastal aquifers • increased non-point source pollution (agriculture, homes, sewage treatment, septic tanks, car exhausts, sediment from construction) • All results in deteriorating water quality which causes stress
Point-Source Vs Non-point Source Pollution • Point source pollution is pollution you can “point to” e.g. industrial discharge pipe • Nonpoint source pollution has no easily identifiable source and everyone contributes • Examples: • Erosion causes excess sediment load • Fertilizers, pesticides • Animal wastes • Runoff from roads and parking lots • Illicit spills and illegal dumping Oil spill from unknown source Savannah River July 17th 2006
How do I Adopt-A-Wetland? • Attend a free training session • Pass the test to become QA/QC certified • Fill out the registration forms located in Chapter 2 of your manual • Picture of your site • Map with latitude and longitude coordinates • Recertification after 1 year
What happens to my data? All the data collected by volunteers is compiled by the Marine Extension Service and added to the Environmental Protection Division’s water quality database maintained at the Atlanta Adopt-A-Stream office. Data is available for viewing on-line through GoogleEarth. Data may be used by anyone including local water departments, schools, environmental groups, or government agencies.
Levels of Monitoring • Visual- Conducted quarterly (4 times a year) Observations of plants, soil, and water conditions • Chemical- Conducted once a month Collect baseline water quality data • Biological- Conducted quarterly Collect data on types and abundance of plants and animals present in your site
Visual Survey • A visual and physical evaluation of wetland conditions • To detect types of animals and plants present • To watch for habitat degradation • Conducted quarterly
Biological Monitoring • What: Inventory of Macroinvertebrates in the wetland/beach • Why: The presence of macroinvertebrates indicates the quality of both water and habitat We can also watch for invasive species • When: Quarterly
Chemical Monitoring • An evaluation of wetland health based on water quality data (salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, settleable solids, turbidity) • Data collected to watch for drastic or seasonal changes in water chemistry which can affect plants and animals living in the area • Monthly
We currently have about 38 adopted sites. You may choose any site you wish for adoption. Sites range from tidal creeks, rivers, beaches, marinas to lagoons.